The Dallas County Conservation Board’s annual event, Prairie Awakening - Prairie Awoke, took place from 4-8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9 at the Kuehn Conservation Area. The theme for this year’s celebration was elders and trees.
Chris Adkins, Environmental Education Coordinator/Naturalist, started the event by introducing the Kuehn family. Jerry Kuehn donated the land for the conservation area more than 20 years ago. The Prairie Awakening - Prairie Awoke celebration happened to coincide with the Kuehn family reunion this year.
Adkins thanked Jerry Kuehn for giving back to the community and allowing Dallas County Conservation to use the land.
The conservation team then had children help release monarch butterflies. The monarchs were tagged so their migration path could be studied. The children were instructed to kiss the butterflies and wish them safe travels before releasing them into the air. The monarchs will be migrating to Mexico soon.
After this, Native American drummers and singers played while attendees danced in inter-tribal dances. World champion hoop dancer Dallas Chief Eagle also danced for the attendees with his daughter Dalacina Chief Eagle.
As the theme of this year’s event was elders and trees, the Chief Eagles spoke about elders and had the crowd invite their passed elders to visit the grounds. Four burr oak trees were planted to the north, east, south and west of the entrances of Kuehn Conservation Area.
Burr oak trees grow slowly. The goal is for the trees to mature over seven generations of people. Dalacina Chief Eagle encouraged the crowd to think about conservation and improving lives of future generations.
There ceremony ended with more inter-tribal dances and the conservation team releasing two rehabilitated screech owls back into the wild.
For more information about Dallas County Conservation, visit their website at www.dallascountyiowa.gov.